Financial Reports: Staples, Charming Shoppes, Office Depot

Sales Up, Bottom Line Falls At Staples
Third-quarter sales for Framingham, MA-based catalog/retailer Staples grew 9%, to $5.2 billion for the three months ended Nov. 3. Sales from its North American Delivery Business — which includes the Staples and Quill catalogs and online businesses as well as the Staples contract delivery business — grew 15% for the quarter.

Staples’ North American retail sales increased 3%, while comparable store sales slipped 3%. Total international sales rose 18%. Third-quarter net income sunk 5%, to $275 million compared to $290 million in the same period last year.

3Q Net Loss At Charming Shoppes
Bensalem, PA-based women’s apparel merchant Charming Shoppes reported a net loss of $3.6 million for the third quarter ended Nov. 3. That’s a far cry from last year’s net income of $19.4 million for the same three-month period.

Net sales decreased 4%, to $669.4 million, compared to net sales of $695.3 million for the same period last year. Net sales for the retail stores segment were $588.8 million, a 4% decrease from last year’s $615,3 million. Same-store sales sunk 8%, compared to a 1% increase last year.

Net sales for the company’s direct-to-consumer segment — consisting primarily of the Crosstown Traders catalogs and Websites — were $79.0 million, slightly below last year’s $79.8 million. The Crosstown titles include Coward Shoes, Lew Magram, and Old Pueblo Traders.

CEO Dorrit J. Bern said in a release: “Our disappointing performance during our third quarter was reflective of downward traffic trends, which both we and our industry experienced. Our fall selling season had a very slow start, particularly at our Lane Bryant brand, and we expect the holiday season to be highly promotional throughout our industry.”

Direct Sales Slip at Office Depot
Third-quarter sales for Delray Beach, FL-based Office Depot increased 2%, to $3.9 billion for the three months ended Sept. 29. The company’s bottom-line fell 9.3%, to $117 million, compared to $129 million for the same period in 2006.

Sales in the North America Business Solutions Division, which includes catalogs, slipped 3%, to $1.2 billion. Sales in the direct channel decreased 10% “due to less effective marketing and issues with the outsourced telephone account manager partner,” according to a company release.

The North American Retail Division’s sales were flat at $1.8 billion, with comparable store sales down 5% for the quarter. Sales in the International Division rose 13%, to $1.0 billion.

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